Rajnish Sinha is Chief People Officer at TaskUs. Views are the author's own.
2021 was a transformative year in which many people in America took the time to reevaluate the trajectory of their personal and professional lives. Job openings totaled an astonishing 11 million in October 2021, following a broader pandemic-driven trend of people leaving their jobs to pursue their passions, care for their families or simply search for better employment opportunities.
The Great Resignation has undoubtedly been a challenge for employers in more ways than one — in-office connections are now lost with the rise of remote work. It's getting harder to inspire employee loyalty, especially as the physical workplace becomes increasingly distant and irrelevant for the average office worker.
Alongside the transition to work-from-home, employees have become more educated on how to integrate self-care into their daily lives and pursue a healthier approach to work-life balance. Beyond just a pay raise, there's a real, urgent need for companies to invest more heavily in employee experience to attract talent — and that starts with recruiting and hiring. More than ever before, employers are motivated to offer more benefits, create better workplace environments, as well as provide additional growth and development opportunities in order to attract and retain valuable employees.
To facilitate a more meaningful and personalized experience for candidates looking to join the team, employers should consider improving on their existing hiring process. It's arguably the most overlooked and underrated part of every organization — many companies have taken for granted that job seekers will come to them. But first impressions count today, and employers need to realize the added value of relationship-building with prospective employees.
The hiring process is not only an opportunity for employers to select future employees; it's also a chance for candidates to select their future employer as well.
According to a 2021 CareerPlug report looking at how candidate experience affects recruiting and hiring, 75% of people now working at companies where they had a positive candidate experience said the hiring process influenced their decision to accept their job offer. At the same time, at least 50% of job seekers have declined an offer due to poor candidate experience. It can also have serious implications for employer reputation: 37% of those surveyed said they left a negative review online after having a substandard candidate experience. At least 66% of job seekers abandon the application process if they think it's too time-consuming or complicated.
People are dynamic, with ideas, intentions, and most importantly, options. Besides great pay and benefits, what makes employees stick around is genuine human connections and workplace culture. By developing more human and less transactional relationships with prospective employees, companies are able to contribute to employer branding on a much more personal level.
Gone are the days when employees chose to stay with an employer until retirement, no questions asked. Employee loyalty should be earned, not expected. With more options available now, employers need to step up their game and come up with new ways to attract employees.
Larger companies with resources should consider delivering personalized "welcome kits" to selected candidates, or even creating informative video content introducing the prospective role and workplace. Smaller organizations can think about revising their hiring processes to make the experience more convenient for candidates, such as proactively sharing information on culture and benefits, improving responsiveness to candidate inquiries, as well as providing clear instructions on next steps. For employers, a more personalized, convenient, and informative candidate experience is key to attracting the right people.
While there are numerous ways to attract and retain talent, such as higher wages, more flexibility and better benefits, many agree that workplace culture and workplace relationships play a major role in determining employee experience. And what better way for a company to advertise their culture and people than through their hiring process?